US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar: ‘I always stand up to bullies’

Ilhan Omar became a national figure in 2018 as one of only two Muslim women ever elected to the US Congress. The Somali-born politician tells Rachel Cooke about growing up a refugee, being the focus for Republican rage – and standing up to Trump Longworth House, which stands just south of the Capitol in Washington DC, is one of three offices used by members of the House of Representatives. A vast neoclassical building, its corridors are austere, their anonymous expanses broken only by American flags and identical brass plates identifying which Congressman or woman may be found behind each door. Turning a corner, however, something else suddenly appears on the horizon: a multicoloured cloud of butterflies that turns out, on closer examination, to be a collection of hundreds of Post-It notes. “Thank you for being strong,” says one. “You’re the best of what America can be,” says a second. A third, heart-shaped and embellished with a smiley face, announces simply: “You are home.” Almost, but not entirely,